Beginner’s Guide To MacroFactor (FULL TUTORIAL)

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I’ve tested 20 nutrition apps over the past two years, and MacroFactor is definitely my favorite (by a long shot)

However, like any diet tracking app, it can initially feel overwhelming until you get used to the layout. 

So, if you’ve just downloaded MacroFactor (or are thinking about it), I want to share how to use it properly and some features that make a big difference when tracking your nutrition.  

If you want to use MacroFactor before buying, use code FEASTGOOD to get an extra week on your free trial (two weeks total versus one).

A Quick Note

If you’re reading this article, I’ve assumed you’re already sold on using MacroFactor.  

As such, I’m not going to discuss who should and should NOT use the app, the pros and cons, and how MacroFactor compares with other apps.  

Read my in-depth MacroFactor review here if that’s what you want. 

Prefer to watch? Check out our video on Beginner’s Guide to MacroFactor: FULL TUTORIAL

Getting Started With MacroFactor 

1. Log In

MacroFactor offers several log-in options, including using your Apple ID, Google profile, and a classic email and password sign-in.

MacroFactor: Log In

Once inside the app, you move on to setting up your profile.

2. Set Up Your Profile

This is where the fun part starts because it’s time to tell the app about yourself. 

First, you can connect to Fitbit, Apple Health, or Health Connect to extract information like body weight. 

MacroFactor: Setting profile - optionally connect platform to sync your data

You must then answer a few basic questions about yourself: 

  • Gender
  • Birth date
  • Height
  • Current weight
  • Current body fat estimate (the app provides visuals that can help)
  • How often do you exercise (0 to 7+ weekly sessions)
  • How active are you (sedentary to highly active, measured in daily steps taken)
  • Your experience level with cardio (none, beginner, intermediate, or advanced)
  • Your experience with lifting (same categories)
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your sex?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - when were you born?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your height?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your weight?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your body fat level?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - how often do you exercise?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - how active are you?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your experience level with cardio?
MacroFactor: Setting profile - what is your experience with lifting?

From there, the app estimates your initial calorie expenditure. If you think the app’s estimate is off and you have a rough idea of your energy expenditure, you can enter that value as a starting point.

MacroFactor: estimated initial expenditure

While setting up, the app also teaches you a few basics about nutrition, which is nice. These small nuggets of information can add up and provide a clear picture of how nutrition works.

MacroFactor: teaches few basic nutrition

Then, it’s time to set a goal––lose, maintain, or gain body weight. 

You can set a weight target and pick how quickly you want to get there. The app provides some recommendations for optimal weight loss/gain rates but ultimately gives you the freedom to decide.

MacroFactor: Goal setting
MacroFactor: What is your goal?
MacroFactor: What weight would you like to get to?
MacroFactor: weight target rate

Finally, it’s time to set up your diet by answering a few more questions:

  • Preferred diet style (balanced, low-fat, low-carb, or keto)
  • Calorie floor (read my note below)
  • What type of training will you do
  • Whether you want to shift calories (i.e., having higher and lower calorie days)
  • What is your preferred protein intake 

Note: Calorie floor refers to the smallest calories the app recommends if you want to lose weight. I recommend sticking with the standard floor and choosing the low floor if you have extensive dieting and fat-loss experience.

I love this feature because it means the app will never recommend calories that are too low and potentially put you in ‘crash diet’ territory. This means you’re less likely to feel excessive hunger or be at risk of significant muscle loss.

MacroFactor: macro program based on information
MacroFactor: What is your preffered diet?
MacroFactor: What calorie floor do you prefer?
MacroFactor: What training will you do?
MacroFactor: Would you like to shift calories?
MacroFactor: What is your preffered protein level?
MacroFactor: How was your program designed?

Once done with this process, which takes approximately 10 minutes, you’ll have access to your dashboard, which looks like this:

MacroFactor: Dashboard - Nutrition & Target access

How to Use MacroFactor

As a minimalist, I don’t mind apps that offer many options so long as I can stick to the features I like and not get frustrated with things I don’t need or can’t understand. 

MacroFactor is brilliant because it allows me to do the bare minimum to get the most out of it. At the same time, it never stops me from diving into more advanced features (more on those below).

So, let’s first discuss how to use MacroFactor without feeling overwhelmed, and I’ll then talk about the app’s fancier features (which are sometimes easy to miss). 

1. Select Your Program Style

One thing that sets MacroFactor apart from other nutritional-tracking apps is the built-in coaching. 

As a user, you get three options:

  • Coached: The app does all the calculations for you and adjusts your calorie and macronutrient targets every week based on weight trends. This option is ideal if you’re unsure how to adjust your nutrition as you gain or lose weight or simply prefer the app to do the thinking for you.
  • Collaborative: You set your macronutrient targets, and the app adjusts your calorie budget based on your goal and progress. This option is good if you want to maintain some control but still take advantage of MacroFactor’s built-in coaching.
  • Manual – You set your calorie and macronutrient targets and manually adjust them when you see fit. This option is best if you’re experienced in macro tracking and prefer to control everything.

You will have the opportunity to pick a coaching style during the initial setup process. 

However, if you’ve picked a style without paying attention or you want to change the coaching style, you can do so by navigating to Strategy (bottom right) and scrolling to Edit Goal (or clicking + New Goal, more on which later).

MacroFactor: Program Style - strategy

Adjust your goal and click the check icon on the top right:

MacroFactor: Program Style - edit goal

Click Update Program:

MacroFactor: Program Style - update program

And select your preferred coaching style:

MacroFactor: Program Style - preferred coaching style

I’ve tested MacroFactor extensively, and its algorithm is incredibly accurate. 

So, you can rest assured that you’ll get fantastic guidance and week-to-week updates on the Coached and Collaborative program styles, just as you would from a nutrition coach.

Other apps I’ve tested offer ongoing guidance, but none provide such a high level of coaching as MacroFactor.

2. Log Your First Meal

Logging your first meal is straightforward. 

Click on ‘Food Log,’ make sure it’s set to Today on top (it should be by default), and click the Search for a food option:

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - set today

The app will present you with several options for finding food items:

  • Barcode or label scanning (more on those in a moment)
  • Searching through MacroFactor’s rich database
  • Using the quick add feature (where you manually input the calories, macros, and the meal’s name)
  • Inputting a recipe or foods from your library (which you can gradually add to over time)
MacroFactor: Logging first meal - search
MacroFactor: Logging first meal - quick add
MacroFactor: Logging first meal - library

There’s also AI describe, which is technically a fancier feature, so we’ll discuss it below.

As a new user, I recommend using the ‘Search’ option and finding the foods in MacroFactor’s database. 

There is an unbelievable variety of foods and beverages, each with an in-depth nutritional breakdown.

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - variety of foods
MacroFactor: Logging first meal - variety of foods nutritional breakdown

The app will automatically calculate the calories and macronutrients for each meal, which will immediately show up in the dashboard, where you can track the number of calories and grams of protein, carbs, and fats you’ve had for the day:

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - automatically calculate the calories and macronutrients for each meal

The fastest way to record meals with multiple foods is to use the plate feature. To do so, tap the large white + icon at the bottom and tap Quick Add. Using the barcode scanner, search bar, your personal library of foods and recipes, and AI describe, add foods.

Click on Add for all the food items:

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - plate feature

All the food items will appear on the top right:

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - food items on the top right

Click on that section to easily review your meal and its nutritional breakdown:

MacroFactor: Logging first meal - review meal and its nutritional breakdown

Once you’re done, tap Log Foods to record everything at once and count it as a single meal or snack.

3. Use the Barcode or Label Scanner

Barcode and label scanners are not new, and you might have used them on other nutritional apps (which MyFitnessPal pioneered back in the day)

Go to ‘Food Log,’ click on the small + icon next to the time correct time of day (when you’ll have a meal), and select ‘Scan’ on top:

MacroFactor: Scanner - label

Point your camera toward the barcode or label (I’ve found that I don’t even have to position these in the outlined square to be scanned), and that’s it. 

Both work well and make it easier to log packaged foods.

4. Add One Favorite Recipe

One thing I love about MacroFactor is that it allows me to create my own library of foods and recipes. 

So, the longer I’ve used the app, the easier it is to log my meals and stay on top of my calories and macros.

To add a recipe, navigate to the large + icon at the bottom and select ‘New Recipe.’ 

Include all the relevant details, such as the name, total weight, serving, prep and cooking time, and a description (optional).

MacroFactor: Adding favorite recipe
MacroFactor: Adding favorite new recipe
MacroFactor: Recipe log
MacroFactor: Recipe log setting

You can then find the saved recipe by clicking the same + icon and clicking on ‘Recipes.’ 

To log a saved recipe, go through your usual food logging workflow by clicking on Food Log. Search for a food and swipe to the Library section where you can see your saved recipes and click the small + icon to log any one of them.

MacroFactor: Foog log - library

5. Log Your Body Weight

Since MacroFactor is a nutrition-logging app with coaching capabilities, you must also log your body weight at least once per week (though it’s recommended that you log your weight at least three times per week) for it to track weight trends and more accurately update your nutritional targets each week. 

Log your daily weight by clicking the large + icon at the bottom and the ‘Weight’ icon. 

MacroFactor: Body weight daily log
MacroFactor: Body weight log - weight icon

You can also input your estimated body fat percentage if your scale tracks that.

MacroFactor: Weight scale tracks

6. Upload Progress Photos & Body Measurements

While not mandatory, progress photos and body measurements can provide insight into how your body composition changes over time. 

You must go into the settings to enable the progress photos and body measurements you want to track (you don’t need to track all the available ones). 

To navigate, click ‘More’ on the bottom right, scroll down to the ‘Features & Settings’ section, and navigate to ‘Body Metrics.’

MacroFactor: Body metrics

As a new user, you can also scroll to the bottom of the dashboard and tap the body metric widget, which will take you to the menu where you can configure your settings for the first time. 

Select which progress photos you want to upload and which body measurements you want to track and save the changes.

MacroFactor: configure body metrics

Once done, you can easily upload photos and body measurements by clicking the large + icon on the top right, upload your progress photo or photos, input the body measurements, and save.

MacroFactor: uploading photos and body measurements

7.  “Completing Days” Happens Automatically

Log your meals, and the app will automatically calculate everything and add it to your daily total. 

You don’t have to ‘complete’ days, like other apps––MacroFactor will automatically consider days complete once the date changes. 

That said, you can return to older dates to add meals or modify existing ones in case you’ve forgotten to log something. I like this because it removes the stress I’ve felt with other apps in the past, where I would have to finish logging foods and complete the day, even if I’m out with friends or otherwise busy.

To do that, click ‘Food Log,’ tap on ‘Today’ (on top), and select a date on the calendar you want to modify.

MacroFactor: Strategy Check-in
MacroFactor: Completing Days - select a date on the calendar modification

Once you do a week of logging, you’ll get to check-in (found under ‘Strategy’) at the bottom:

MacroFactor: Completing Days -strategy

MacroFactor will provide nutritional recommendations based on your nutrition and weight trends for the upcoming week. 

You can accept or decline the changes and keep going. If you decline a check-in, you can manually check in whenever you want to get back on a regular check-in cadence.

MacroFactor: accept or decline the changes

Aside from that, you can gradually add recipes and custom foods to your library, upload progress photos, and include body measurements to track your body composition.

Key Features NOT To Miss on MacroFactor

Now that I’ve gone over the basics of MacroFactor, let’s review some of the app’s lesser-known features. 

I spoke with Greg Nuckols, one of the app’s co-founders, to provide a comprehensive overview. 

He provided some excellent input, so let’s break it down.

1. Weight Trends

Go to the dashboard and scroll to the ‘Insights & Analytics’ section, where you will find your Weight Trend:

MacroFactor: Weight Trends - insights & analytics

There, you will see all kinds of information regarding your body weight and how it’s likely to change based on your current trajectory.

MacroFactor: Weight trends scale
MacroFactor: Weight Trends information

This section focuses on your body weight without mixing that data with other things, such as your current or previous energy expenditure.

As Greg puts it: 

“Expenditure gets most of the attention, but just being able to remove most of the noise from your weight data is really helpful for a lot of people.”

2. Prepare Recipes

I briefly mentioned recipes above, but this feature bears repeating, especially for cooks who like to experiment in the kitchen. 

MacroFactor allows you to store detailed recipes and include information like:

  • Ingredient list
  • Prep time
  • Cooking time
  • A recipe description
  • And step-by-step instructions

MacroFactor automatically calculates the weight per serving based on individual ingredients and provides the best nutritional breakdown with calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients.

MacroFactor: Prepare Recipes - store detailed recipes
MacroFactor: Prepare Recipes - nutrition displayed per serving
MacroFactor: Prepare Recipes - fat breakdown
MacroFactor: Prepare Recipes - protein breakdown

Once you’ve saved the recipe in your library (found by clicking the large white + icon and tapping ‘Recipes’), you can select a specific recipe and click ‘Prepare.’ 

The app will instantly pull up the cooking instructions you’ve saved while recording the recipe. 

As Greg puts it:

“The “prepare recipe view” is pretty useful so you can get a clear view of ingredients and steps while you’re cooking.”

MacroFactor: Prepare Recipes - cooking instructions

3. Recipe Within a Recipe

This feature allows you to use recipes you’ve already saved as ingredients for new ones. 

For example, if you have some leftover food from a recipe, you can use that to cook something new, and MacroFactor will handle all the nutritional calculations.

To use this feature, click on the white + icon at the bottom and navigate to ‘New Recipe.’

MacroFactor: Recipe within a recipe dashboard

As you’re inputting the details, click on ‘+ Add Ingredients’ and go to ‘Library’ at the top:

MacroFactor: Recipe within a recipe - inputting the details

Then, click on ‘Recipes’ and tap the small + sign on the right to add one of your saved recipes as an ingredient for your new one:

MacroFactor: Recipe within a recipe - library

As Greg puts it:

 “The fact that you’re able to add one recipe as an ingredient in another recipe is pretty clutch.”

4. Custom Micronutrient Goals

Most apps have allowed users to set custom macronutrient targets for a long time. 

But custom targets for vitamins and minerals? That’s not something you see in every app.

If you have unique needs for certain micronutrients (such as sodium, iodine, or vitamin D), you can adjust the goals by navigating to the Nutrient Explorer (scroll down to the bottom of the dashboard):

MacroFactor: Custom Micronutrient Goals - nutrient explorer

Then, select which micronutrients you’d like to track:

MacroFactor: Custom Micronutrient Goals - select which micronutrients you’d like to track

From there, you can pin up to eight nutrients or metrics to your dashboard:

MacroFactor: Custom Micronutrient Goals - pin up to eight nutrients or metrics to your dashboard

You can also customize your micronutrient targets or go with the recommendations provided by the app:

MacroFactor: Custom Micronutrient Goals - customize your micronutrient targets

Your pinned nutrients will now show up in the dashboard:

MacroFactor: MacroFactor: Custom Micronutrient Goals - pinned nutrients show up in the dashboard

5. Dark Mode

You might not care about this, but it’s nice to have. 

Activate it by clicking on ‘More’ (bottom right), navigating to ‘Theme’ and choosing your preference:

MacroFactor: Dark Mode

6. Full Unit Support

MacroFactor is incredibly inclusive because it supports all units for most products. This makes it easier to log meals and add ingredients to recipes. 

For example, if you can log a particular food in ounces, you can also log it in grams.

I love this freedom because I prefer to use grams and milliliters to log foods and beverages, and MacroFactor eliminates the hassle of converting units on Google to log my meals.

7. AI Describe

Finally, there is the AI describe, which I mentioned previously. 

This feature lets you quickly describe what you’re eating through text or speech, and the app does the rest.

For example, I used the speech-to-text feature to input some foods I had eaten. 

The app easily understood what I told it and calculated the nutritional information for the meal:

MacroFactor: AI Describe

This is a convenient way to log meals when on the go because you can simply dictate what you eat, click ‘Find Foods,’ and go about your day. It’s like a voice note but for your meal logging.

Personalizing MacroFactor

Finally, I asked Greg if he had any extra tips for personalizing MacroFactor above and beyond what I’ve already mentioned. 

Here are his suggestions:

1. Set Up Your Plate Banner Builder

The plate banner builder is a customization page that allows you to adjust what things you see when logging your foods. You can navigate there by clicking More > Food Logger > Go to Plate Banner Builder.

MacroFactor: Plate Banner Builder

From there, configure how you want to see the meal logging section:

MacroFactor: Plate Banner Builder - configuration
MacroFactor: Plate Banner Builder - configuration meal lgging section
MacroFactor: Plate Banner Builder - nutrition display setting

2. Configure Your Shortcuts and Toolbar

MacroFactor allows you to configure your shortcuts and toolbar to log your foods just a bit faster. 

Click the large + icon on the bottom and tap Configure Shortcuts & Toolbar:

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar

Go to Toolbar Designer:

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar designer

Here, you can pick from several options:

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar - search and barcode
MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar - search, barcode, and top shortcut
MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar - top four favorites
MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar - top four favorites - none option

You can also change or re-arrange your shortcuts on this page:

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts and Toolbar - re-arrange shortcuts

3. Configure Your Food Timeline

The Food Timeline section of the app allows you to customize how things appear when you log meals. To access these options, tap on More > Food Timeline.

MacroFactor: Food Timeline section

There, you will see all sorts of options:

MacroFactor: Food Timeline - hour range default
MacroFactor: Food Timeline - calendar week banner
MacroFactor: Food Timeline - individual food timestamps

You can also click on the Go to Timeline Tile Builder and access even more customization options for what information to display and how to display it:

MacroFactor: Food Timeline builder
MacroFactor: Food Timeline builder - tile preview

4. Set the Right Goals

The beauty of MacroFactor is that it allows you to set goals during the setup process and adjust them afterward if necessary. 

To adjust a goal, go to ‘Strategy’ (bottom right) and navigate to your goal, where you will see an ‘Edit Goal’ button:

MacroFactor: Set the Right Goals - strategy

You can then adjust the speed of your preferred weight gain or loss, and the app will automatically adjust your calorie and macro targets:

MacroFactor: Set the Right Goals - edit goal

However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each goal you set. 

As Greg puts it:

“If you set a goal to lose 3lbs per week, don’t be surprised if your calorie targets are really low.”

5. Create a New Program if Necessary

Another thing you can do to personalize your MacroFactor experience even more is to create a new program if you’re not entirely satisfied with the current one. 

This means going through a partial setup process, where you answer a few questions again:

  • What is your preferred diet type?
  • What is your preferred calorie floor?
  • What type of training you will do?
  • Would you like to shift calories or get an even distribution?
  • What is your preferred protein intake?

The above questions are for a ‘Coached’ program (which I discussed above), where the app does all the calculations for you.

MacroFactor: Program Style, edit

You can also pick a ‘Collaborative ’-style program, where you can set your macro targets more freely.

MacroFactor: Program Style - collaborative

Here’s what Greg had to say about this personalization option:

“Don’t be afraid to create a new program if you want a different mix of fat and carbs, or if your protein target is higher or lower than you want. I also think collaborative plans are underutilized by people who want more control over their daily nutrient targets.”

6. Configure Your Shortcuts

As mentioned, MacroFactor allows you to pin up to eight things to track in your dashboard. 

This could be your calories, macros and several micronutrients, just micronutrients, water intake, fiber, or even certain amino acids and fatty acids.

MacroFactor is quite flexible in this regard, and you can get a lot of value even if you need to track certain nutrients for health reasons.

To configure what the app shows on the home screen, scroll down to ‘Nutrient Explorer,’ click ‘Explore All,’ and tap the gear icon on the top right.

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts - calories

You will see the ‘Pinned to Dashboard’ selection and a button to edit it:

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts - pinned to dashboard

Tap it and pin or remove metrics to get your personalized dashboard view.

MacroFactor: Configure Shortcuts -personalized dashboard view

Other Macro Tracking Resources

About The Author

Philip Stefanov

Philip Stefanov is a certified conditioning coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor. With more than nine years of experience in the industry, he’s helped hundreds of clients improve their nutritional habits, become more consistent with exercise, lose weight in a sustainable way, and build muscle through strength training. He is passionate about writing and has published more than 500 articles on various topics related to healthy nutrition, dieting, calorie and macronutrient tracking, meal planning, fitness and health supplementation, best training practices, and muscle recovery.

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Here’s My #1 Ranked Macro Tracker

After trying 18+ food trackers, MacroFactor is my #1 Pick. Here’s Why:

  • 50% of the cost of other trackers and has greater functionality & accuracy
  • The most customizable tracker on the market
  • Constantly adapts to your metabolism and is easy to use

After trying 18+ food trackers, MacroFactor is my #1 Pick. Here’s Why:

  • 50% of the cost of other trackers and has greater functionality & accuracy
  • The most customizable tracker on the market
  • Constantly adapts to your metabolism and is easy to use

Enter code FEASTGOOD for 2-weeks free when signing up

Read my review